Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face unique challenges. They need to secure access to funding, knock elbows with the competition and fight for the best talent on the market, learning effective leadership along the way. Luckily, there are ways for SMEs with technology at their core to make their lives easier - web application development outsourcing.
Outsourcing is a business practice that presents a number of benefits to companies of all sizes. It’s particularly useful for SMEs, which often don’t have the option of hiring an entire internal team. But some things, particularly jobs that aren’t at the core of a business, don’t have to be dealt with internally. It’s no secret that companies that choose to do everything on their own have higher costs. They spend more on research, development, marketing, and distribution expenses - and it’s the customers who end up shouldering the extra expenses.
The world of IT has a long-established tradition of cooperating with outsourced technical teams, often through offshoring, in order to quickly and efficiently develop software products. It’s a solution to the problem of limited access to local talent and software companies near you that don’t necessarily meet your quality standards. Here are a few reasons why this approach is so popular.
A fast way to develop an MVP and verify your business
Let’s say your business is on the cusp of starting a new project. You need to develop a web app, and the faster you can do it, the sooner you’ll have proof of concept. It’s often crucial to get users on board as quickly as possible, both to receive their feedback and start gaining traction. But if you build this app on your own, you’ll have to hire a software development team, potentially train them, adjust your internal structure and processes - all before proper development work even starts. Sometimes this organic approach works, but more often than not, it’s wasteful.
Outsourced teams come with a lot of added value. They have experience in exactly what they’ll be doing for you: developing a commercial project from start to finish. Thanks to their own know-how and processes, they’ll be able to hit the ground running. They do it dozens if not hundreds of times over their careers, after all. If you choose the right partner, they’ll help you pick the best technologies for the project, implement good development practices, and use thorough quality assurance procedures. These are extremely important choices, resulting in software that can be easily developed further, and free of bugs, so the user base you attract initially won’t leave because of a bad experience caused by a buggy app. A team of experts will have their own development environment and tools, so there’ll be no need for setup.
This is particularly valuable if your company has little experience with software projects. There are many pitfalls young companies fall into: feature creep, lack of proper testing, bad communication. Experienced outsourced teams have that all ironed out, and they can teach you what they know. In fact, that’s often a good way to know whether a potential partner is the right one - make sure they’re happy to share their knowledge and empower you to make meaningful decisions.
Access to technical expertise in a particular field
The population of programmers worldwide is large and growing, but you’d be surprised by how difficult it can be to find experts in a particular field. If you need people who can help you with Blockchain, Big Data or Machine Learning, you’re likely to find them - but many of them will be unavailable, busy with other projects, or not skilled enough for your needs. Some experts might be reluctant to tie themselves to one project, worried that it’ll cause stagnation in their professional development. For them, working at an agency means guaranteed access to a variety of projects and other experts to learn from.
We’ve been hearing warnings that the number of talented developers is lower than the number of development jobs on the market. This is true, particularly in specific fields. There is a tendency on the IT market to overpay employees to retain them. Same goes for technologies - maybe you want to use the Go programming language for a more calculations-heavy app. You’ll find that building a team is a challenge.
Outsourcing companies have a big advantage here by offering remote software development teams. They hire technical experts permanently, putting a lot of effort into keeping their levels of job satisfaction high. As companies, they have experience in remote collaboration (they might be remote-first companies) and in distant collaboration, so communication and team management won’t be a problem.
If you look for teams that specialize in a particular technology, you’re quite likely to find a solid partner. And even if they don’t specialize in the field you’re interested in, consider giving them a chance. Senior developers are vastly experienced and multidisciplinary already. It might not be difficult at all for them to pick up a new tool.
Software that manages and automates internal processes
The Digital Transformation is upon us. More and more businesses take advantage of technology to make their processes more efficient and their employees happier. Automating rote tasks is one way to do it, and another is to use software solutions for managing a business. This means that you could be considering working with an outsourced development team even if you don’t have a software product.
We believe that developing internal tools is best done through an outsourced team. The approach is less expensive (remember the added value), faster and there’s less risk of bias or feature creep. Additionally, an outside perspective and experience with similar projects can help companies avoid common mistakes.
Physical product accompanied by software solutions
While physical products may be your main offering, it’s often a good idea to make them more attractive through software. You might have noticed how many retail businesses offer custom apps for their customers as part of their loyalty programs. The same goes for entertainment, banking, tourism, transportation and other major sectors. Don’t be late to the party.
If your company is in need of rapid growth, but you still want an internal team taking care of one of your core projects, it’s possible to eat the cake and have it, too. By extending your internal team, you can not only boost the development rate for your project, but also give your internal experts access to an invaluable learning resource: experienced developers with valuable know-how.
How does team extension work? Specifics vary: it’s either a development team or several developers joining your internal team. Together, they work to create new features and craft amazing software. You don’t need to worry about strangers walking into your office - many companies offering team extension work remotely, and don’t require you to provide any resources for them, not even desk space. In fact, keep an eye out for remote-first companies - their development teams are used to building products remotely, and have an established mindset, tools and procedures for it.
A great way to avoid costly recruitment
We’ve already mentioned the scarcity of development talent and the competitive nature of the IT job market. These two factors mean that recruitment in the world of IT is not only difficult and time-consuming, but also costly. Consider all the steps you need to take: building a network of possible candidates, establishing recruitment procedures, vetting candidates, verifying their technical expertise - that’s only some of what goes into hiring technical staff.
It’s possible that you don’t currently have technical experts that could choose the right technologies for your projects, which creates the risk of picking the wrong ones and hiring people with expertise you don’t actually need. You also likely don’t have a network of possible candidates or an established position as an employer on the IT market. An outsourcing company, on the other hand, does have both, along with good processes for reaching, converting and verifying candidates. Take advantage of it.
While outsourcing is not always the right choice, we’d like to argue that it almost always is when SMEs need to quickly develop an IT solution. The advantages are many, including know-how, market experience, efficient processes and access to top industry talent.
If you’re not sure whether outsourcing is for you, talk to us. We’ve been active on this market for a decade and we have a ton of experience to share with you, if you’re interested.